Wow! That’s how I would describe Lufthansa’s First Class product. I paid, with points and some cash and got a deal. It was Black Friday, after all.
Last night’s flight could well be the pinnacle of my up-in-the-air experiences. It started at Chicago O’Hare with an escort past the long lines to the Boeing 747-400. “Any first class passengers?” a uniformed lady asked as she proceeded through the gate area. She picked up only two, me and another guy, escorting us to the front of the line and landing us on the jetway to the plane.
Inside, a warm greeting, an individual closet for my carry-on bag and winter coat, a huge seat that reclined not only flat but long — I mean, long: I could get all 6’5″ of me on that bed — flat-panel television (the movie selection could have been better), van Laack pajamas to wear and keep (I’d never heard of the brand, but boy were they soft), an amenities kit inside a cute Rimowa hard-shell luggage, a single rose placed in a vase and more …
A polite and professional flight attendant poured 1999 Cuvée Louise, Champagne Pommery, accompanied by White Macadamia nuts and a glass of sparkling water. Up here, there was no rush at all, and all fortunate enough to be up front seemed to be happy with the lavish experience. A man seated across from me said he was from Amsterdam but never flew KLM because they did not make him feel welcome. So instead he flies Lufthansa over Amsterdam, changes planes in Frankfurt, then flies Lufthansa back to his home. Well, KLM has always impressed me, but Lufthansa First Class does raise the bar a bit.
I later learned our flight attendant had worked for Lufthansa for 14 years and loved her job. It shows. She was not only professional but also accessible, and although she addressed each of us in (there were only five men in a cabin that had a capacity for eight passengers) with the proper Germanic Herr, or Mister, she was friendly and approachable. She humanized an experience that seemed all too decadent.
Dinner was an affair, white table clothes and fine wines, with impressive starter dishes. Service began with a salmon-inspired amuse-bouche, followed by caviar, then a plate of appetizers:
- Citrus Cured Scallops
- Seared Beef Tataki with Papaya Salad and roasted Peanuts
- Beef Ravioli with Balsamic Glaze
- Fresh Salad with Yellow Roasted Tomatoes presented with “Delicious” (as the menu described it) Dressing
On to the main courses:
- Tenderloin of Beef with Plum Chutney, roasted Yukon (potatoes, I presume?) and Leek
- Butter poached Lobster with Butternut Squash and Fingerling Potato
- Stir-fried Egg Noodles with Eggplant
- Roasted Chicken Breast with Sesame Glaze and Bok Choy with Quinoa (my choice, light on the belly)
- Pumpkin Stew with Ginger Chicken
- Selection of cheeses, including Sage Derby, Parmesan, Guyére, Cambozola, Humboldt Fog
- Warm Chocolate Cake
- Créme Caramel Flan with Orange Segments.
I had the Roasted Chicken with a glass (okay, two) of 2006 Chateau Laroze, Saint-Emilion, Grand Crue Classé. That, and a movie that turned out to be dull, put me right to sleep on that long bed with its fine cotton duvet and pillows. Mine were sweet dreams over the Atlantic. Could they have been anything else?